Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: An Old Hand - at Just 24! Quakers Notes

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: An Old Hand - at Just 24! Quakers Notes

Article excerpt

Byline: By ANDREW WILKINSON

AT just 24 Clark Keltie looks set to become Darlington's longest-serving player.

The central midfielder currently holds the mantle while Neil Wainwright is on loan at Shrewsbury.

Clark has played around 150 games in his six years with the club, often in a struggling side - but this time around it is a different story, with Darlington flying high in the League Two table, and looking to last the pace in the promotion race.

And if Wainwright comes back and re-establishes himself in the team, Clark will not mind being the second longest serving.

"I don't think about things like that. I'm just pleased to be here, playing and enjoying it," he said.

Manager Dave Penney has made wholesale changes since taking over a year ago, the revolving door whisking players away, while sweeping in many others.

Clark is not in a spin, however, which is a tribute to him, for the manager has not sought to offload him.

"Nearly everybody who was here when the manager arrived, has gone," he said.

"But we now have strength in depth in the squad which is what we need and, while I'm pleased that the gaffer has chosen to keep me, it's not about me, but about what we achieve together on the pitch.

"I'm competing for a place against very good midfielders like Micky Cummins who has experience at a higher level.

"But it's the same for everybody, and everyone in the team knows he must stay on top of his game or the boss will change things around.

"However at the moment we are reasonably happy with our league position. It's an improvement on last year, but we know that there is more to come from us.

"There is a good buzz among the lads, and the training is hard and good fun. The optimism comes from the boss down."

The mentality is to try and win every game, but while no team is going to do that, Clarke revealed that the players are frustrated even with drawn games, whereas in the past a lot of draws were seen as a good point won. …

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